Catcher Brandon Valenzuela homers and steals home as he leads the Storm to the only win in the system. As a whole it was a pretty bleak day as pitchers gave up 31 runs in the three games. Still, we look for the positives.
The Chihuahuas (36-52): El Paso had a tough week going two and four. With virtually no starting pitching, the organization went out and signed RHP Tyler Viza. Viza was 6-2 with a 3.05 ERA pitching for Kane County in the independent American Association of Professional Baseball. The former Phillie prospect has pitched at the Triple-A level as recently as 2019. He seems like he would be a candidate for a roster spot in El Paso. The Chihuahuas travel to Round Rock for a six-game series starting Tuesday.
The big news of course was the unexpected resignation of manager Edwin Rodriguez. John had an interview with him (subscriber) earlier in the week on some of the prospects with El Paso.
Also of note: Several Triple-A clubs released their schedule for next year. One change of note: The Triple-A West League will have Mondays off, much like every other full-season club. In 2020, the Triple-A West had Wednesdays off. As of press time, the Chihuahuas have not released their schedule for next year.
Corpus Christi Hooks 7, Missions 5
Key Stats: RHP Brandon Komar (L, 1-2) 4 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 4 BB, 2 K; RF Esteury Ruiz 2-for-4, RS, BB; SS Eguy Rosario 1-for-4, RS, BB; 3B Allen Cordoba 1-for-3, RS, RBI, 2 BB; 2B Olivier Basabe 1-for-3, HR (1), RS, BB
Prospect Watch: The good news was the Missions had 16 runners on their nine innings. In addition, six players reached base multiple times. The bad news is they could never get that big hit, with left fielder Ben Ruta leaving seven men on during his 0-for-4 night. … After a scorching hot June and July, Eguy Rosario has plummeted back to Earth with an ice-cold August. He started the month with a 3-for-32 slump. Since then his bat has come back to life slightly. He reached base twice Wednesday and has reached base 12 times in his last seven games played. Rosario is hitting a paltry .183/.242/.283 in August, a huge drop from his .971 (June) and .898 (July) months. … Lefty Joe Beimel might be older than some managers throughout baseball but he is still throwing scoreless innings in San Antonio. With another scoreless outing tonight, Beimel has now gone seven appearances (eight innings) without allowing a run. During those eight innings, he has allowed just four base runners while striking out six. Beimel sits 91-93 mph but can reach back for a 95+ on occasion. With the Padres’ bullpen and rotation depleted, Beimel becomes a better and better choice for a callup.
West Michigan Whitecaps 18, TinCaps 6
Prospect Watch: The TinCaps took a 1-0 lead in the second. By the end of the third, it was 9-1 and by the end of fifth, it was 16-1. The TinCaps got a grand slam from Yorman Rodriguez in the seventh inning that pulled the TinCaps to within two touchdowns, but that was it for the game. Third baseman Ethan Skender continues to be a nice story. In 11 August games, Skender is hitting .400/.522/.543. The 24-year-old is not likely to crack a top prospect list, but is a player that is easy to root for after battling injuries since he was originally drafted in 2016. … As bad as the pitching was, the TinCaps received zeroes from two highly thought of relievers. Righty Wen-Hua Sung was the big Taiwanese player they signed during the massive 2016 international period. Sung missed three months earlier in the year, but when he has been healthy he has looked great. He currently holds a 2.40 ERA with 25 strikeouts in only 15 innings. The Padres seem very keen to treat him with kid gloves. He only pitches every 3-4 days, never going more than an inning since his original injury on May 8th. … The other pitcher is former 11th round pick RHP Mason Feole. The Padres gave him the max amount to sign without dipping into their allotted draft pool ($125,000), and even then the Padres were only able to sign him because he needed Tommy John surgery. Two years later he is finally healthy, and his season got off to a rough start. He had no control over any pitch, walking five while recording just two outs in the game we saw on July 11th. Since that game, Feole has been a different pitcher. He has gone 10.1 innings, allowing only two earned runs, on six hits. More importantly in those 10.1 innings, he’s only walked seven while striking out 14. Seven walks in 10.1 innings aren’t great, but not as bad as five in 0.2 innings. Feole still has plenty of raw ability, and it is a pleasant surprise to see him finally finding command after such a tough start to the season.
Storm 8, Inland Empire 66ers 6
Key Stats: CF Robert Hassell III 2-for-4, 3 RS, BB, SB (28); SS Euribiel Angeles 1-for-5, RS; C Brandon Valenzuela 3-for-4, HR (6), 2 RS, 3 RBI; BB, SB (3); LF Angel Solarte 3-for-5, RBI, SB (11); RF Christian Heredia 2-for-4, RBI
Prospect Watch: Here is your daily Hassell update. Hassell reached base safely three times and raised his OBP to .407 on the season. In August, he hitting .333/.412/.476. He continues to be an ideal leadoff hitter, featuring a high batting average/OBP, the ability to steal bases, and a low strikeout rate … With Angeles, Hassell, and Mears taking most of the spotlight, catcher Brandon Valenzuela has been a big surprise. Baseball America had him rated as a “premium defensive catcher,” and that the difference between Valenzuela being a top-10 prospect and a top-30 prospect would be his ability to hit, especially for power. The write-up made sense, as he had just five total extra-base hits in 42 AZL Games. With two more tonight, he is now up to 30 in 75 games. This year he is hitting .319/.399/.468. Not only did he hit a big three-run home run, but he also stole home. No one will confuse him for a speedster, but it just shows that he has enough in his game to make scouts take note. … With about a month left in the season, Euribiel Angeles still leads the league with a .347 batting average. Brandon Valenzuela (.319) ranks fourth in the circuit, and Robert Hassell (.312) ranks sixth. All three prospects also rank in the top-seven in the league in OBP. … Another under-the-radar prospect to keep an eye on is left fielder Angel Solarte. The 20-year-old is hitting .357/.422/.439 in August, and finally raised his overall batting average to over .300. Solarte is a centerfielder by trade, but has played left with Hassell in center. Scouts have praised his hit (.301 average) and run (11 SB) tools, but his .102 ISO is going to make it hard for him to raise too high in the ranks.
The Arizona Padres have the day off. Second-round pick James Wood continues to be the standout for the ACL Padres. He is now hitting .381/.480/.500 after his first home run yesterday. Despite the home run, the ACL Padres rank second to last in OPS .693. With Wood’s home run the ACL club as a whole now has 12 home runs on the season (34 games). Every offensive stat in the league, the club ranks near the bottom except for triples where they rank sixth with 11.